I'm enough of a railfan to think there's almost no such thing as a poor shot of trains, so on that basis I found this film interesting. But the same story has been told much better in other films produced around the same time, like "Mainline USA". It is kinda fun, though, to watch the actors wrestle their way through the clunky dialogue. Two notable characters are "Scotty", who could have been the inspiration for Cliff Claven, and "Bill", an early appearance by character actor James Gregory, best known today for playing Inspector Luger on the "Barney Miller" TV series (you'll also remember his face and voice from various TV Westerns). His is clearly the most polished performance of the bunch. All in all, a so-so film effort; not one to avoid, surely, but it's been done better by others. Not less than three stars, though, if only for the appearance by James Gregory.
Reviewer:Christine Hennig -
October 9, 2003 Subject:
Guys Are Going On and On About Railroads (and On and On and On...)
This 50s film about railroads features a plot only an industrial filmmaker could love. A stranger walks into Scottie's, a diner frequented by railroad men, and flirts with Kelly, the waitress. The railroad men are all abuzz about a tv documentary that's going to be made about railroads. They begin to loudly converse their opinions about what sort of things they should put into the show and are about as convincing, and as tedious, as the French noblemen in the Monty Python "Dennis Moore" sketch, whose entire conversation consists of facts about French history straight out of the Encyclopedia Brittanica. The worst is Scottie himselfhe's a full-fledged railroad geek, a walking database of railroad facts and figures that he spouts off at the drop of a hat. Even the other railroad men are sick of him. As if this wasn't bad enough, the stranger plays devil's advocate, periodically making comments to Kelly that are really designed to bait the railroad guys, and it works, too. One guess who turns out to be the producer of the tv documentary. Of course, Kelly falls for the guy and this causes her to do a little dance at the end of the day while she's cleaning up. Just as it threatens to turn into Design for Dreaming, Kelly suddenly remembers she's a working-class girl, thus she won't be allowed to enter The Future, and comes back down to earth. She does get some flowers and a nice note from the producer, which in Jam Handy's universe is all she has the right to expect, and she knows it. At least she doesn't get called "Greasy," for which she should be grateful. Mostly, though, this is just a bunch of guys going on and on and on about how great railroads are, spouting fact after boring fact. This is interspersed with the expected footage of railroads at work. Train buffs will probably like this film, and outright railroad geeks like Scottie will probably give it 5 stars. All others will want the railroad guys to shut up after about the first 10 minutes. I'm a bit surprised by this filmusually Jam Handy makes his points a lot more smoothly and cleverly. Perhaps Westinghouse, who sponsored the film, gave him a huge list of facts that he was ordered to cram into the film. The railroad logos that go by during the opening credits are cool, though. I want all of 'em on little metal tags, like that great metal tag collection at Pioneer Village.
Ratings: Camp/Humor Value: ****. Weirdness: ****. Historical Interest: *****. Overall Rating: ****.
January 3, 2003 Subject:
At this moment, I'm falling asleep.
Somewhat dull coffeehouse chat about the benefits of the railroad mixed in with scenes of, well, railroads. Lot and lots of them. In the coffeehouse, the folk hear of a TV program documenting the benefits of railroads. They wonder how on earth such a subject can be brought to the small screen, and then railroad fact after railroad fact is given ad nauseum. Strictly for train junkies only.
JOURNALIST IN DINER RESEARCHING TV SERIES ON IMPORTANCE OF RAILROADS, MEETS WAITRESS, EAVESDROPS ON DISCUSSION ABOUT IMPORTANCE OF RAILROADS. MANY SHOTS OF TRAINS (GOOD).
Scenes of America: desert, farms, etc. Many scenes of trains
Pan Signal control room
CU Signal controls
Passenger train scenes, couple in cabin (private compartment)
Couple getting on train - rows of seats
Mother putting boy to bed in sleeper cabin
Scenes Out of train window
RAILROADS TRANSPORTATION RESTAURANTS DINERS WAITRESSES WORKERS TELEVISION COMMUNICATION RADIO TRAINS ENGINES FREIGHT SCENICS DIESEL ENGINES ECONOMICS COOKS FOOD JOURNALISTS REPORTERS CITIES MEDIA ROMANCE FLOWERS ADVERTISING PUBLIC RELATIONS DINING CARS VISTA-DOME CARS OBSERVATION CARS TRAVEL RAILROAD YARDS CARGO FREIGHT HUMOR